by Uzo Ometu
If you were to tell me that both the #1 seeds in the NBA Playoffs were going to lose on the same night, fall to 2-1 in their respective series, and that both would lose games in which they were outplayed in the final minutes of the 4th quarter, neither I, nor anyone else on Earth would have believed you.
But that is exactly what happened. The Los Angeles Lakers fell to an Oklahoma City Thunder team that played a game of Horse in which the teams were divided into “Under 22” versus “22 and older.” And then the Cleveland Cavaliers, the best team in all the land, lost to the team with the worst record in the postseason.
Now that’s theater!
So what should we take away from all of this?
Lakers lose to Thunder
Get your panic buttons out! Everybody across the country is going to be chopping Laker-nation down at the knees. In the 4th quarter, Kobe Bryant went 1 for 9 with Kevin Durant guarding him. Derek Fisher continued to get burned by Russell Westbrook. And Jeff Green finally manned up and may not boy down for the rest of this series. It could get ugly for the Lakers really soon!
However, let’s not get too carried away. In watching that game down the stretch, it just seemed like the Thunder couldn’t miss. They hit all of the big shots. They got all the good bounces. And the best player on Earth didn’t play the part. That’s not to discredit the Thunder. They worked to get people open on offense, and their defense was superb. Still, one has to wonder how many more times they can replicate that high level of basketball. Not to mention, ultimately, the Thunder will have to bring that same high level of basketball to Los Angeles if they are going to win this series, and they haven’t proven that they can do that. So at the max, this series goes 7. And maybe I’m riding the wave from last night, but I think I’ll extend my previous prediction of 6 to a 7-game series, based on LA’s lack of consistency in their last two games.
Bulls beat Cleveland
Speaking of a team having a great 4th quarter, the Chicago Bulls were unstoppable. Once again, I give credit to Derek Rose and the rest of the Bulls for hitting shot after shot in the 4th quarter. They responded to everything the Cavaliers threw at them in that final minutes, and in a surprising twist, it was the Bulls that looked like the #1 seed fighting the lower seed off in the final seconds.
However, the Bulls woke up a beast last night, and unfortunately, it wasn’t someone on their own team. LeBron James absolutely went mad in the third and fourth quarters, nearly pulling off what would have been one of the greatest comebacks in recent NBA playoff history. There is no doubt in my mind that King James and the Cavaliers will come out with a vengeance in Game 4, and LeBron will play 45 minutes if that’s what it takes for him to beat the Bulls. Looking at the bigger picture, it is a shame that LeBron has to be the one to step up in order for the Cavs to beat a eighth seeded basketball team, but that’s a story for another series—assuming the Cavs have another series in them
Article originally on the SportsWatchers' Blog.